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A Middle East tour by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has confirmed to democracy activists in the Middle East what they had long suspected–the United States has lost interest in democracy for Arabs. By promising to protect friendly rulers in the region against what many analysts see as exaggerated external threats, Rice sent a message that Washington will not ask many questions about how they suppress more real internal threats, they said.
I wrote about the administration’s failed “democracy” initiative in the Middle East last March. I focused on Egypt, where the U.S. supports the Mubarak regime–which has ruled for decades without ever holding fair elections and routinely employs violence against its opponents–and ostracizes the Muslim Brotherhood–which renounced violence decades ago, espouses democracy, and calls for anti-corruption initiatives and political reform. In fact, the Bush administration started backing off of its pro-democracy rhetoric after the Brotherhood scored big gains in parliamentary elections, despite massive cheating by the Egyptian government.
Since I was in Egypt last fall, the Mubarak regime has launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood. Meanwhile, parliament (where the ruling party has a rubber stamp majority) passed a series of amendment that “further solidified the legal underpinnings of authoritarianism in Egypt,” according to a recent article in Middle East Report Online by Samer Shehata and Joshua Stacher.
There’s little coverage of Egypt (far more pivotal to Middle Eastern politics than Iraq over the long run) in the American media. For those wanting to know what’s happening there, check out the story by Shehata and Stacher.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Minimum number of cats fitted with high-tech listening equipment in a 1967 CIA project:
Zoologists suggested that apes and humans share an ancestor who laughed.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”